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ANWR Exploration Dies in the Senate

Against the backdrop of increased tension in the Middle East, political turmoil in Venezuela, the war on terrorism and soaring gas prices here at home, the Senate Thursday defeated a proposal that would have reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil.

The 54-46 procedural vote against limited exploration on a tiny sliver of land in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a threatened Democrat-led filibuster.

The House of Representatives approved a provision to drill in ANWR when it passed its version of the energy bill last year, guaranteeing the issue will be discussed in a House-Senate conference committee. However, Thursday’s vote likely ended any chances for the ANWR provision this year, as proponents failed to gain support from a simple majority in the Senate.

Currently, more than half of our nation’s oil is imported from foreign sources, including the Middle East. In fact, more than 700,000 barrels a day come from Iraq. Venezuela is the third largest supplier of oil to the United States. As America’s dependence on foreign oil continues to grow, particularly from regions plagued by instability and turmoil, opening ANWR is a national security issue and vital to our nation’s economy.

The ANWR provision was an integral part of President George W. Bush’s Comprehensive Energy Policy. Shortly after the vote, White House spokesman Ari Fleisher said, "The Senate today missed an opportunity to lead America to greater energy independence. The president will continue to fight for the tens of thousands of jobs that are created by opening ANWR, as well as, more importantly, for the need for America to be able to achieve more energy independence that would result from opening ANWR."

That is going to be difficult, as long as Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) — both of whom led the charge against the opening ANWR -- continue to spread environmentalist propaganda and play politics as usual at the expense of national security.

To learn more on ANWR, read Exploring ANWR: Why Two Thousand Acres in Alaska Are a Matter of National Security.

[Posted on April 19 , 2002]